Chausson Suite Maxi Motorhome Video Review

Below is a video review from Practical Motorhome on the Chausson Suite Maxi, which is a two berth motorhome specifically targeted at the cyclists. This has an island kitchen and an additional 70cm for a built in bike locker at roughly a £45,000 price point. The gas locker only takes a small single gas bottle, not much gas is needed as the space heating is achieved with diesel. The water tank is interesting as due to the location of the tank it is a powered filling point, however you can save the power if you need to by filling the tank inside the motorhome, but that is a little impractical.

The bike rack on the Chausson Suite Maxi is a vertical garage arrangement, although we do not get to see it in the video a motorised rack comes down for you to easily put the bikes on and then lifts into position for storage. The main bed is not in the lounge area of the Chausson Suite Maxi therefore it can be designed specifically for dinning and it makes a really nice space. The table can move in two directions, though as the reviewer states it may be a little dark due to limited natural light because of the bed above.

The main bed is electrically operated and drops down over the dinning space on two settings. The first will require a ladder but you can still sort of use the lounge underneath and the second stage is a full drop down to the lounge table. They have put in a key system and locks so you cannot accidentally start lowering the bed during a meal and squash your dinner.

The kitchen in the Chausson Suite Maxi is an island and its got a lot of work top space and full access around the kitchen which is great. There may only be a two burner hob, however for a van and occupancy such as this that shouldn’t really be a problem.  The central fridge/freezer and oven grill looks very nice and very domestic, however the grill/oven maybe a bit high for some people. While there is limited storage space within the lounge there is lots of space in the kitchen. I also agree with the reviewer that the pull out cupboard will come in very handy.

Now when I first saw the washroom in the Chausson Suite Maxi I was sceptical. I understood the reason for its shape due to the bike locker, but the central shower and rear toilet seemed strange. At first I thought why not put the shower at the back, but then access around the toilet to the shower would probably have been difficult. However upon reflection using the side screens of the shower I actually think it could work quite well. I’m not sure how many drains the shower has but hopefully its two to better suit un-level pitches.

Now I really like the Chausson Suite Maxi, but then again I would like to take my bike. Then again if you are not interested in cycling that bike locker takes up quite a bit of space so one of their other varients would make more sense.

Chris

Venus 500/4 Caravan Video Review

In early 2012 Lunar Caravans released a new budget brand called Venus, this is a video review from Practical Caravan on one of that range the 500/4. The range featured four vans with a price point between £10,400 and £12,400. In terms of their appearance they are obviously fairly plain compared to other brands and the parent Lunar brand but it could be seen as a sleek minimalist look. There is also a large single front window and a lot of space within the gas locker. The bottom of the range van the 320/2 is very compact with a rear kitchen/side washroom layout.

The seats and furnishings with the Venus 500/4 appear a good standard as the reviewer states. The roof lights provide a good amount of natural light. Unfortunately the van uses the old/cheaper halogen lights, but you can actually easily swap these to LED if you wish to save your battery life. The layout of the 500/4 is a twin single bed rear washroom layout that has become very popular over recent years. In terms of sleeping in the lounge the sofa can be made into a double bed with an acceptable width of just over 6ft.

In terms of the kitchen savings have been made on the size of sink, a three burner hob instead of the more common four and the grill/oven is a smaller cheaper unit. However there is a Dometic fridge/freezer which is nice to see at this price point. The twin single beds will be suitable for most under 6ft. There is a good storage under the beds and the self supporting nature of the bed frame is plus point. There is a sliding partition to keep the spaces separate and a TV point and bracket.

The end washroom makes a good use of the space and looks very practical and to quite a high standard considering the low price of the Venus 500/4. It will be interesting to see over time if the Venus range can compete with established budge caravans such as the Bailey Orion.

Chris

Auto-Trail Frontier Comanche Motorhome Video Review

Today we have a video review of a fairly large motorhome, particularly when you factor in its only really for two people, its the Auto-Trail Frontier Comanche. This is a rear island bed motorhome and as the reviewer states it comes in three roof styles. Practical Motorhome prefer the low profile version and I would tend to agree, you get better MPG and the motorhome will be more stable in cross winds. Due to the length (8.73m) and weight there is a tag axel on the Auto-Trail Frontier Comanche.

There are lots of external features such as a shower point and gas point. Unfortunately the toilet cassette is next to the entrance door however the location and ease of use of the gas locker somewhat makes up for it. The lounge area in the motorhome is very large, which may seem strange for a 2 berth. However really there is also a double bed space here its just there are only two belted seats in the Auto-Trail Frontier Comanche so other guests would have to arrive by car. There is also lots of storage above and below the lounge area.

The kitchen in this motorhome is very nice with an L shaped work space, however I would have liked to see a sink which is a bit larger. You get three gas burners and one electric hot plate full oven and grill but the microwave is a bit of a let down. Firstly its very small compared to many of the microwaves you will see in motorhomes and caravans today and the location is an issue. Its very high up and this is really a safety issue, particularly if you are not tall enough to reach it comfortably. One highlight of the kitchen though is the fridge freezer, first its huge but also it has automatic energy selection so it chooses 12V, mains or gas which ever is most appropriate.

The washroom is spilt just in front of the rear bedroom with the shower on one side and the toilet on the other. Generally these are good spaces though as the reviewer states they really should have put two drains in the shower for when your pitch is not quite level. Also the arrangement of the toilet door and the screen I find quite odd. The rear bed space offers lots of room but the omission of power sockets next to the bed is frustrating.

Generally the Auto-Trail Frontier Comanche is a very nice van, but you should expect that for £70,000. It they had addressed the issues with the microwave, shower drain and power sockets there would be little else to complain about.

Chris

Elddis Crusader Hurricane Caravan Video Review

Todays video review from Practical Caravan is of the compact 2 berth Elddis Crusader Hurricane. This is an end washroom layout with a slight difference from most common caravans with an L shape lounge arrangement.

With a short lounge on the left side of the caravan means more kitchen work top space and more space between the sink and hobs. On the right hand side there is a long bench with the TV positioned at the end close to the door. One concern with changing the layout of the lounge for most people including my self would be the sleeping arrangement. However the Elddis Crusader Hurricane is apparently wide enough to provide a good sized double.

Storage in the caravan appears very good with lots of lockers. The kitchen in the Elddis Crusader Hurricane is a very nice space, the sink is large and 4 burners with an electric hot plate will definitely come in handy. The washroom again is very spacious with central sink and the toilet and shower left to right. The sink while ‘stylish’ is more practical than the other round bowl sinks you tend to see in the premium caravans that look very small to use.

With a reasonable weight your average family hatchback should be able to tow the Elddis Crusader Hurricane comfortably. The £19,000 price point may seem a lot for a 2 berth but this is a premium end caravan.

Chris

 

Wellhouse Hyundai i800 Camper Video Review

When looking for a camper the first product most people think of is the VW or maybe a Ford Transit. However over the last few years there is a new option aiming to provide the same standard of camper at a significantly lower price point and that’s the Hyundia i800 Camper. This is a video review from Practical Motorhome on the Wellhouse Leisure conversion and from first impressions its a very smart looking camper. Wellhouse and Hydundia appear to be working closely together with the focus to market the camper through the car dealerships.

In side the i800 there is a side kitchen directly behind the driver seat and then a rear bench. Now the rear bench can technically seat 3, however due to the narrow width thats 3 small children or 2 adults. There is a drop down table for the front passenger seat and a removable table for the rear bench. In terms of the kitchen the single piece stainless steel 2 burner hob and sink looks to be of a good quality with glass lids. You also get a combined over and grill and a 47 litre fridge/freezer. There is some storage within the camper but its obviously limited. The lower storage compartment houses a portable chemical toilet.

The roof bed in the Hyundia i800 camper is optional, the review also states it could be a 5 birth with a hammock however we never actually get to see it. I presume its a children’s hammock over the passenger/driver seats. The rear double bed appears easy to setup and sturdy. The gas locker is at the back of the camper and easy to access. There is quite a lot of storage at the back of the camper, however I also agree with the reviewer that it would be better if the table could be fixed for transit.

The i800 has a 2.5 liter diesel with 168 BHP and lots of toque so you will not be wanting for power, but it probably doesn’t compete with the VW or Ford Transit on MPG. All in all this is a very impressive offering from Wellhouse and for a price point of £35,000 you are talking about a £10,000 to £15,000 saving compared to their competitors which is considerable.

Chris

Bailey Retreat Willow Caravan Video Review

Now here is something a little bit different, on first impressions this may just look like a large Bailey twin axel caravan, however its not. This is the Bailey Retreat Willow and its massive! Its a project that Bailey have started to offer something between a touring caravan and a static caravan. This means its not as mobile as a conventional tourer but you can move it from different locations a lot easier than it is to move a static.

The Bailey Retreat Willow is designed for seasonal pitches, however unfortunately this means these vans cannot stay on certified sites such as ours as we have to comply with a 28 day rule for guests. In terms of size this van is 2.5 meters wide which makes it quite a bit wider than any tourer, and at 8 meters long it needs to be towed by a suitable vehicle. A standard car cannot legally tow an outfit over 7 meters long.

There is obviously going to be a lot of space within this caravan, for example with room for 6 around the front lounge with lots of over head storage. Seeing a breakfast bar in a Bailey caravan is a bit strange sight but there is so much space it makes sense. The kitchen is aiming for domestic standards and you can see that heavier high grade materials have been used as weight it not a concern with this caravan. That caries over to the ceramic toilet and washroom fittings. The toilet is based on one side of the isle and the shower on the other with a divider for privacy.

Finally there is a fixed island bed at the back of the Bailey Retreat Willow with lots of space to get around the bed. Part of the reason for this design of caravan is due to Bailey’s over seas sales to Australia where as a manufacturer you better go big or go home. In terms of the demand for this van for the UK market its going to be interest to see if a market of any reasonable size exists or is it just a very small niche. Hopefully owners pay attention to the current DVLA laws and don’t start towing the Bailey Retreat as if it was a normal tourer and getting points or even loosing their licence!

Chris

Burstner Ixeo Yime IT 585 Motorhome Video Review

Burstner produce some very high quality and well designed motorhomes and the Ixeo Yime IT 585 in the video review below is no exception. Its a low profile coach built 4 berth motorhome based on a Peugeot Boxer chassis and its only 6 meters long.

At the back of the van is the gas locker where the door fixes securely for loading and unloading the bottle. There is also a very handy storage locker towards the front of the motorhome. The door has an electric step and no window which the reviewer states is a good choice to improve security. I do agree with the reviewer that the Champaign colouring on the outside of the van does give it a good look, as it is a cost option though that choice would depend on how much extra Burster would want. Another neat little design touch is the rear central brake late has been incorporated into the Burster logo.

The lounge area in the Ixeo Yime IT 585 motorhome is very impressive with a good sized table. There are two belted seats and the table drops down so it can be converted to a bed. The second bed in the Burstner is another really good piece of design as it drops down over the lounge area.

There is more kitchen workspace in the Ixeo Yime IT 585 than you see in many much larger motorhomes. Also the ability to remove and reposition the spot lights shows the attention to detail that has been made producing the van. The sink is a good large size with drainer all made from stainless steel. While in the kitchen though you need to be aware the washroom door is directly behind you.

The washroom is another area where the design Burstner has used impressed me. Generally I’m not a fan of motorhomes/caravans without a separate shower, as you will get the toilet wet and it generally makes using the washroom less practical. However in the Ixeo Yime IT 585 there is a shower screen which will address the issue. The swivel sink is another clever idea that while small does help to make more space available when not in use.

I do really like this motorhome as its small enough to park in most locations but has the living, sleeping and cooking space of vans which are much larger.

Chris

Dunster House Stealth Concordia Tranquilty Video Review

Dunster House Stealth caravans are no longer available, but there are still second hand vans on the market so I feel this video review has some merit. The Stealth caravans were as even the manufacture stated ‘like marmite’ to many caravaners. When I first went to look at a Stealth caravan at the NEC to see no front window just a large piece of black gloss plastic I must admit I just didn’t get it. However before the firm closed they did start to bring in more conventional designs but still with some interesting ideas and the Concordia Tranquillity is an example of such a caravan.

This is a single axel 5 birth family caravan with a separate children’s room at the back of the caravan with a solid door and a central washroom. As you can tell from the interview in the video below with talk of ‘room for the games console’ and in the review the space for a ‘large flat screen’ in the front of the caravan, it appears to have been designed to try and hit a multimedia niche.

The lounge seats are quite nice, though I do think the light cream colour is a strange choice for a ‘family’ caravan. I’m not sure how much the cooler in the central cabinet would get used. However I do like the idea of being able to put the TV in the front of the lough area so everyone has a good view. Storage around the lounge appears good. The kitchen provides a good layout with good work top space, I also like the practical stainless steel sink.

The washroom is fitted to a high standard with a useable shower cubicle, practical sink and ceramic toilet for a more premium finish. I must admit I do also like the idea of the children’s area separated by a solid door. There are two bunk beds and the third lower bed provide a place to play.

Overall the design of the Stealth Concordia Tranquillity was impressive, while a price point of £19,000 is high for some this was a niche product with some interesting ideas. If you like the caravan you maybe able to pick up one second hand at a reasonable price. However as the manufacturer is no longer around and this is a niche van if something does go wrong you could have a problem.

Chris

Adria Sonic A Class Motorhome Video Review

Todays video review from the Practical Motorhome YouTube channel is on the Adria Sonic 1700 SP A Class motorhome. As you will see from the video review below first impressions of this motorhome are very good, its styling really sets it off well. The base vehicle is the Fiat Ducato with chassis options of 3 or 4 tonnes.

One of the benefits of the A class is the improved aerodynamics which will reduce fuel consumption. In terms of external features there is a easy to access gas locker that’s low down for loading and unloading bottles. A handy feature of A class motorhomes such as the Adria Sonic is the rear garage. Its positioned under the rear fixed bed and you can raise or lower the bed to provide more or less garage space. You have access from both sides of the motorhome and you can fit your bikes into position with the fixing hooks.

Moving on to the interior there is the large lounge area that can seat up to 6 people. I do really like the sliding table which makes it easy for people to leave the space to go to the washroom or kitchen. Two of the lounge seats have belts so along with the cab seats this is a 4 berth motorhome. The over cab bed is very impressive, the cab seats are folded forward and with the touch of a button the bed lowers into position for easy access and easily enough room for two adults.

The kitchen space in the Adria Sonic is rather small, with very little food preparation space. However you get all the features you would expect and as the reviewer in the video states there is enough room for two people to pass. The washroom is a very pleasant space with a nice separate shower that’s very usable while the rest of the washroom is quite compact. What I do like is the two drain holes in the shower at both sides so it will still work if you are not on a level pitch.

The rear fixed bed is a nice size with a window at the base of the bed. Remember the space above the bed depends on how much space you need in the garage below. In 2011 when the Adria Sonic came on to the market the price point was between £60K to £70K. It appears a well made quality motorhome so maybe worth a look on the used market.

Chris

Lunar Lexon 420 Video Review

In today’s Practical Caravan review its the Lunar Lexon 420. This is a compact 2 berth caravan that weighs fully laden around 1,200 kg, which means your average hatchback should be able to tow it. In terms of price point new in 2012 this van was available at around £15,000.

The objective for Lunar with the Lexon was to provide a shorter lower weight van without too many internal compromises. The lounge has two long sofas which can be used as single beds, or they can be made into a large double. The cushions and curtains in the Lunar Lexon are more conservative than you will see in many of their rivals but I for one quite like them.

The kitchen has to be fairly compact but you are still getting the four burner hob, grill, oven and microwave you would expect with a decent sized fridge. The one thing I’m not sure about is the black round sink, I generally prefer a square stainless steel sink. In 2012 its was the time that many of the manufacturers including Lexon started to include LED lighting more in caravans, and it makes perfect sense. You now get a good amount of light from the LED’s and there is very little load on the battery.

In terms of saving space on the Lunar Lexon compared to previous models this has been done by moving the wardrobe out of the washroom and into the living space. The washroom in the Lexon is a very nice space with the toilet to the left, sink in the centre and the shower to the right. The shower is huge, and it has a lovely door to it better than many people will have at home.

Overall I think the Lunar Lexon is a great little van for two people.

Chris.